No Tank You: ”It Will Weaken the Norwegian Defense’s Reputation”,

Trine Jonassen, News editor

Apparently out of the blue – and barely two months before the planned signing of the contract for the purchase of 82 new tanks – the Norwegian Chief of Defense Eirik Kristoffersen asked Norwegian Minister of Defense Bjørn Arild Gram (Center) to ditch the purchase in favor of new helicopters and long-range weapons. The contract is planned to be signed before the new year.

The Chief of Defense’s surprising decision has been met with reactions also outside of Norway’s borders and the Finnish defense analyst Robin Heggblom says that the defense of the Norwegian border to Russia is not a purely Norwegian affair.

”If Norway do not have modern tanks, the defense units in Finnmark and Troms (in Northern Norway. Red note) will have issues with defending themselves against enemy attacks. They will also have difficulties with counter-attacks to push the enemy back across the border. To say it bluntly, it means that more soldiers and civilians will be killed or hurt,” says Heggblom to High North News.

”From a Finnish perspective, it is a strange decision to make. Finnish defense forces are dedicated to defending the entire country. That also means that if Norway lacks the ability to counter-attack – which usually requires several troops and is more dangerous than defending their own positions – others must take the brunt of it,” says Heggblom.

And these ”others”, he believes will be Finnish and Swedish soldiers. […]

Despite the new recommendation from Chief of Defense Kristoffersen, Minister of Defense Bjørn Arild Gram (Center) is adamant that the government is planning for the acquisition of tanks.

”The process is in line with the progress plan that has been laid out,” says Gram to the National Defense Magazine – Norway. […]

Together with several other mayors, the mayor of the border municipality Sør-Varanger, Lena Norum Bergeng (Labor), reacts strongly to the Chief of Defense’s statement, and writes in an op-ed for Folkebladet that ”For Norway’s army municipalities, the acquisition of tanks is a sign that Norway is to be defended from the first meter”.

”Should the future defense be based on enemies being allowed to freely cross the border and attack the Norwegian people living in the North, and then use missiles to take them out one by one? What about us who live in the North? Such a strategy seems to surrender us to the superior power without even attempting to defend the country. Can we really accept that someone else will help us defend Norway if we ourselves are not willing to stand firm?” writes the mayors. Läs artikel